Dyker Heights school renamed after longtime principal Madeleine Brennan

Madeleine Brennan
Madeleine Brennan holds a bouquet of flowers after her retirement in 2013.
File photo

A Dyker Heights school will now bear the name of the late Madeleine Brennan, who led I.S. 201 as the longest serving principal in New York City history. 

“We are celebrating today because our neighborhoods have taken the time and effort to honor Principal Brennan’s work, her care for the community, and her old school, no-nonsense, tough-love style,” said Councilmember Justin Brannan, who announced the name change on Tuesday. 

“We can all agree she deserves the honor of this school bearing her name, and the present and future classes that walk through the doors at I.S. 201 should all have the chance to know that name well.”

Brennan worked as the school’s head for 50 years, until her retirement in 2013 — which made her among the most tenured public school principals in the nation, according to the Superintendent of southern Brooklyn’s School District 20.

“As one of the longest-serving principals in New York City history and American public education, Mrs. Brennan guided the development of countless students, staff, and future school system leaders,” said Dr. David Pretto. “District 20 is proud to welcome the Madeleine Brennan School.”

The beloved educator passed away on April 9 of last year at the age of 93.

“Madeleine Brennan was a trailblazer: for southern Brooklyn, and for all the thousands of children, parents, and members of the school community who knew her,” said local state Sen. Andrew Gounardes in a statement. 

madeleine brennan
Madeleine Brennan died on April 9.Joseph LaCascia

The school, also known as the Dyker Heights Intermediate School, is located at 8010 12th Ave., and currently operates as a middle school, after years of serving K-8 students. 

While paying tribute to the late principal, Goundardes highlighted her work fighting to keep funding for arts programs at the school, when a sizable budget crunch threatened to divert limited resources towards STEM fields. 

“She kept our community’s music and arts programs thriving at a time when children’s in-school creative options were all too often few and far between,” said Gounardes. “Thousands of southern Brooklynites’ lives are infinitely better because of her commitment to the wellbeing of our children.”

A 17-year public school student herself, Brennan’s impact after becoming an educator was widely known in southern Brooklyn, leading many locals to push for the renaming after hearing news of her death. 

“I am so proud to have worked on this with neighbors, advocates, and people who picked up the phone or emailed our offices to make their appreciation for Principal Brennan known,” said Councilmember Brannan. “We always say our community feels like a small town in a big city, and stuff like this is exactly why.”

“Her memory and legacy will now live on through JHS 201 The Madeleine Brennan School,” said the school’s current principal, Robert Ciulla.